Spain will fight to keep gold medal dream alive against Ivory Coast

Luis de la Fuente's side will look to show why they are favourites for the tournament

| sport

Toni Juanmartí

Spain are gearing up for a quarter final clash against the Ivory Coast, due to be played on Saturday morning. Their opponents are not as technically gifted, but they have shown solidity and robustness throughout the tournament. In order to challenge for medals, Spain will need to improve their efficiency in front of goal.

Spain is the only European side left in the tournament. Since winning gold in Barcelona '92, no other European side has won the Olympic football tournament. If they want to achieve their dream, Luis de la Fuente's players will need to be more lethal in front of goal. So far, they have only scored two times in three games (from 17 shots).


Barça's Óscar Mingueza looks set to come into the starting line-up at right back, replacing the suspended Óscar Gil. This will be the only change from the final group game, barring any last minute problems.

Incredibly, Pedri is due to play his 69th official match of the season. The Ivory Coast's Franck Kessié has also played a high number of matches, featuring in 57 games in all competitions. The midfield battle between these two important players could be key in deciding Saturday's fixture.

Dani Ceballos remains sidelined with an ankle injury that he picked up in the opening game against Egypt.


"We are very excited and motivated. The fans are really hooked and we understand that it's a match that will mark the future of the championship. It will be a very difficult match, but I think the team is doing very well. They have an energy and spirit that makes me very optimistic about our chances. What's more, this group is unbreakable and very united. We're in high spirits and we'll need to play a great game to beat the Ivory Coast, because they're also a great team," said Luís de la Fuente ahead of the match.

The Ivory Coast come into this match with a full squad to pick from. They will be full of confidence, having drawn against Brazil and Germany in the group stage.



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